The Bold Type isn’t afraid to address social issues. And in the episode “Mixed Messages” written by Wendy Straker Hauser and Nikita T. Hamilton airing Tuesday, May 21, 2019 the Freeform series will touch on one we’ve seen in the media: racial profiling.
Kat Edison (Aisha Dee) is the Social Media director of Scarlet. As a biracial woman, viewers saw her struggle with what to write for her official Scarlet bio in last season’s episode “Rose Colored Glasses.” She felt that her race shouldn’t be included on the bio. But Alex encouraged her to indicate that she was Scarlet’s first black female social media director. We learned as a child that Kat always felt uncomfortable with checking the race box on forms. This is a real issue for biracial people as both races are equally important in who they are, how do they choose one? In the end, Kat went with Alex’s suggestion.
In another episode last season “Stride of Pride,” Kat confronted Jane (Katie Stevens) on her friend’s white privilege when Jane was angry she wouldn’t be considered for a job because the company wanted to increase their hiring of diverse applicants. The episode presented an honest discussion on race and privilege which is rarely seen on television (and in real life for that matter). Some people have a problem with the term “white privilege,” especially if they’ve had to work hard for their success. In my opinion, white privilege isn’t about how rich you are or your connections, it’s the idea that your abilities aren’t called into question because of the color of your skin. It’s about not having a fear of being accused of a crime regardless of proof or evidence because of the color of your skin. It’s about being able to live in a good neighborhood without being questioned whether you belong there because of the color of your skin. And in “Mixed Messages,” Kat faces what we’ve seen in the news a lot. Take a look at this preview of the episode:
Kat is running for city council and canvassing when she is accused of loitering and casing the neighborhood to rob it. It doesn’t matter that she explains why she is there. It doesn’t matter that she actually lives in the neighborhood (“I find that hard to believe”). The only thing the woman who threatens to call the police is the color of Kat’s skin. She’s black. No way could she live in a neighborhood like that. No way could she be running for city council.
Although The Bold Type is a television series, what happens to Kat is all too real with people calling the police on blacks for anything from a child trying to sell water (“Permit Patty”) and using what is deemed a fake coupon (“Coupon Carl”) to going to the pool at the residence where you live and being told you don’t belong there. There are countless others who sadly feel 911 is there personal hotline to use whenever they see a black person doing what they believe is a crime but for a non black would be normal everyday living.
What I like about “Mixed Messages” is that Kat is a well dressed, well spoken young woman who cares about issues plaguing a community and is taking a stand by running for office. And even though she explains her reason for being in the neighborhood, the woman turns a blind eye and deaf ear. She sees black women in front of her so they have to be up to no good. I’m interested to watch the episode to see what happens when Kat’s friends Jane and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) get involved. This is an important episode of The Bold Type not to be missed.
Racial profiling doesn’t need to happen. It comes from having pre-conceived opinions. The simple solution is looking pass someone’s skin and getting to know them. Sounds simple right? But unfortunately it’s not, prejudice is a centuries old problem. And when seeing news reports, it feels like the country is going backwards in race relations.
As a fifty-three year old black woman, I’ve dealt with racial profiling in my life. It makes you sad, angry and upset when someone tries to devalue who you are as a person. But by being strong and having a sense of self worth, I was able to overcome and put my feelings towards working for ending the sad epidemic our society faces.
I offer praise to The Bold Type and The Bold Type writers for addressing this in their episodes. It’s my hope that “Mixed Messages” will open up the conversation.
The Bold Type “Mixed Messages” airs Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 8/7c on Freeform.
Video Courtesy of The Bold Type Official Twitter
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